Please check our Delivery page for delivery updates.

Alpine Hay

Alpine Hay

What makes  Alpine Hay so Special?

Alpine hay is grown in relatively remote regions at high altitude.  The permanent pasture of the Alpine slopes not only benefits from the purity of the mountain air.   The pastures are also rich in wild plants making the hay very nutritious.

Running through a number of European countries including Germany, Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland, the Alps and its neighbouring ranges provide some of the best hay in Europe.

Hand Cutting Alpine Hay

The steep slopes make mechanical hay making extremely difficult so some of the best hay in the Alps is cut by teams of hay-makers using a traditional scythe.

You can find out more about using a scythe to cut hay from the Scythe Association of Britain & Ireland in the UK or One Scythe Revolution in the US

The Importance of Alpine Hay

The Germans & Austrians take the quality of their hay and hay meadows seriously.  They call milk from pasture fed cows ‘heumilch’ or haymilk and value it for cheesemaking.  They also use it in therapeutic baths and many tourists visit hay hotels where they can sleep in a bed of hay.

Hay Bath South TyrolImage is from Suedtirolerland.it

People of the Alpine regions even cook with it. For example Hay Soup served in bread baked in hay…

Hay Soup in bread From an article in Modern Farmer -image by photographer David de Vleeschauwer

How to get Alpine hay off the side of a mountain!

The haymakers often cut hay by hand using traditional scythes.   The steep slopes of the mountain make mechanical harvesting impossible.  They then gather the hay and have to move it down the mountain slopes.  This is only possible using man-power, but the hay cutters do this in a rather novel way.

The ‘hay avalanche’ that they create saves a lot of time when they are moving hay down from the upper Alpine mountain slopes. Then the haymakers send it on a rope slide down the mountain to the valley below.

Pets love munching away on mountain hay

Pet owners feed this hay to their rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas and degus not just because their pets find they hay delicious.  Their owners enjoy the smell of it, its softness and green colour.

The hay tempts fussy eater, it appeals to their foraging instincts and their tastebuds.  The animals eat the hay which is so important for their digestive system with little or no waste.  Guinea pigs especially enjoy burrowing into mounds of the stuff.

Chefs cook with it, you can bath with it or put it under your pillow for a good night’s sleep.  You don’t have to eat it to enjoy it.

 

 

German Hay

German Hay

German hay is an important part of the cultural heritage of the Alpine and Pre Alpine regions.  The Germans take their hay very seriously!  Their ancient meadows are protected by law. They harvest, dry and bale the grasses and wild plants with great care.

Many German pet food companies focused on healthy forages for small pets when UK companies were still peddling ‘pretty coloured bits’, and they’re still ahead of the game in many ways.

Zooplus, a German pet product retailer, also operates in the UK and is a reliable source of German hay and forages.

German Hay from ZooPlus UK

Click on any of the images below to purchase (affiliate links)

Mühldorfer Country Meadow Hay 15kg
Muhldorfer Meadow Hay

JR Farm Mountain Meadow Hay 2.5kg

JR Farm Mountain Meadow HayCountry meadow hay from the mountains of Bavaria.  You’ll find this in the equine section so it is better value for money than pet hay.

Mühldorfer Country Meadow Hay is excellent value for money and compressed into a handy small bale.

Price as of 05/02/2017 ( £1.13 – £1.20 / kg)JR Farm are long standing producers of hay and herbs.  From the reviews, there seem to be seasonal fluctuations in quality so maybe try a single bag in the first instance and check the reviews.

Price as of 05/02/2017 ( £2.80 / kg)

Bunny Fresh Grass Hay 3kg

Bunny Fresh Grass Hay

Mucki Mountain Meadow Hay 1.6kg

Mucki Mountain Meadow HayBunny Fresh Grass Hay is a hand-picked mixture of the first and second crop of untreated meadows from the southern German Allgäu.

My favourite German hay by far.   The 3kg bag is larger than the image suggests.

Price as of 05/02/2017 ( £5.00 / kg)Harvested from the Bavarian mountains where the old mountain meadows contain a variety of plants.

The hay contains twenty plant species which adds variety and taste.

Price as of 05/02/2017 ( £4.37 / kg)

Bunny Hay from Protected Meadows 2.7kg

Bunny Hay from Protected Meadows

Bunny Fresh Grass Hay Special Editions 3 x 2kg

Bunny Fresh Grass Hay Special EditionsGrown in untreated meadows in a conservation area where it is harvested late in the season to prevent disturbance to nesting wildlife.  Regular mowing helps create a wide variety of plants.  Dried in warm air to preserve colour and flavour.

Price as of 05/02/2017 ( £5.55 – £7.40 / kg)Hay which has seasonal herbs, flowers and vegetables added.

Available as Winter Pack or Summer Pack

Price as of 05/02/2017 ( £4.50 / kg)

Dried Grass

Dried Grass

Fresh grass is the prefect food for rabbits and guinea pigs.  Dried grass therefore provides a handy and nutritious forage as part of a balanced diet.  It is also great combined with our herb mixes, single herbs, cereal grasses or flowers.

If you have the storage space, and plenty of small furry pets, it pays to buy the bulk bales.

For those without a local feed or equine merchant, you can still buy large bales of dried grass from some online stores. That way you can also have them delivered directly to your door.

Graze-On and Readigrass come in 15kg bales, much cheaper that buying 1kg bags even with delivery.

Readigrass  is available in large bales for horses and smaller bags under the Friendly  label for rabbits, guinea pigs and other small pet herbivores.  Graze-On is only available in 15kg bales.Readigrass pure dried grassGraze-On dried grassFriendly Readigrass for small animals

Nutritional Value of Dried Grass

The horse and rabbit products, Readigrass and Friendly Forage, have different nutritional breakdowns.  The small animal version is higher in fibre 28% and lower in protein 12% than the horse one.  The horse product has 21% fibre and 15% protein.

Readigrass and Friendly Forage dried grass are only 3% moisture, making them prone to leaf-break.  This is not dust, just broken dried grass powder.  This is useful for making cookies or syringe feeds so don’t waste it.

Graze-On has a dry matter of 90% which is similar to hay.  It has 14% protein and 25% fibre,  almost in-between the other two.

Like fresh grass, dried grass has the perfect balance of nutrients for  small furries.  The calcium to phosphorous ratio is around 2:1 and it is also a good source of Vitamin E, Beta Carotene and Vitamin C.

The grass is mechnically dried which preserves the green colour, aroma as well as the chlorophyll content.

Cider Vinegar

Cider Vinegar

Cider Vinegar - Organic with motherRaw Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is a complex naturally fermented food.  It has been used since antiquity for its healing properties.

Cider Vinegar – Beneficial or Old Wive’s Tale?

Vinegar is an old condiment.  According to The Journal of Food Science “The earliest known use of vinegar dates to more than 10000 years ago”.  Vinegar has been used  throughout history for preserving fruits and vegetables.  Many housekeepers  today still swear by vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.

Reader’s Digest have an article on the many and various uses of vinegar in general.

What is the Vinegar Mother?

The vinegar ‘Mother’ shows the vinegar is ‘alive’ and not pasteurised.

Dilution for rabbit drinking water

Dilute by adding 1-2 teaspoons per litre of drinking water.  Offer the resulting ‘bunnyade’ several times per week in a separate water bottle.  This makes sure the rabbit likes the taste and can choose to drink it or not.

The malic and acetic acid in apple cider vinegar have antimicrobial properties which makes it useful to feed if a rabbit or guinea pig is off colour.

Nutritionally it is good source of minerals, although not much else, and it does not contain sugar.

Cider Vinegar Guinea Pig rinse

You can use the same dilution to rinse your guinea pigs coat after shampooing.

Vinegar for Cleaning

Cider vinegar is too expensive to use as a hutch cleaner, but you can use white vinegar instead.  Many people use white vinegar to clean their hutches for its ability to remove calcium deposits.  Vinegar is also good at removing odours.

You can use cider vinegar to clean your water bottles to help prevent green algae in the summer months.

You can use it if your house rabbit wees on the carpet.   First sponge with plain water, soaking up the excess with a towel.  Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on the stain.  Mix one part white wine vinegar with one part water and spray on to the bicarbonate of soda.  It will fizz up so let it settle down for a few minutes before soaking up the excess again.  Finish with clean water and dry the carpet as before.